Codex Borgia is preserved in the Apostolic library at the
Vatican in Rome, Italy. It was constructed of animal
hide and covered with a white plaster-like foundation
upon which the figures were painted. It was folded so that
it could either be stored compactly or opened to reveal
all of the pages of one side. Codex Borgia features a page
by page portrayal of the various divisions of the sacred
260 day calendar or tonalpohualli (toe-nall-po-wha-lee).
(For more information go to www.famsi.org/research/pohl/jpcodices/index.html
) Pages 61-70 illustrates the division of the calendar into
trecenas, twenty "months" of thirteen days. A different god
presides over each trecena. Diviners used the calendar to
foretell the future of children born under each of the 260
day signs. To look up your own day sign in the Nahua Calendar
go to: http://www.azteccalendar.com
Pages from Codex Borgia.
The supernatural patrons of diviners who used the codices were
five male and female couples called the Maquiltonaleque and the
Cihuateteo appearing on Borgia 47-48, together they formed part of
a larger group of spirit beings called Tzitzimime (Tzitzimitl, sing.)
In manipulating the books, male practioners invoked the spirit forces
of their patrons through the tips of their fingers which they addressed
as the "Maquiltonaleque." Maquil means five, signifying the numeral in
each of their names. The Cihuateteo were said to be the spirits of
women who had died in child-birth. They were patrons of mid-wives and curers.
We know that Codex Borgia was used by palace diviners, mid-wives, and curers as a
means of invoking the prophecies of the gods. A diviner gives the prophecy for the birth of a child on the day
10 Rabbit in an illustration from the Florentine Codex.
Borgia pages 61-70 depicts the sacred 260 day calendar.
Borgia pages 47-48 depicts the five male and five female couples called the Maquiltonaleque and Cihuateteo.